UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to make his first title defense against former UFC two-division champion Conor McGregor at UFC 229 on October 6 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Most people see McGregor as a huge threat to Nurmagomedov’s throne, especially after witnessing him capture the featherweight and lightweight titles with his incredible striking force.
However, Khabib Nurmagomedov doesn’t seem to be worried about Conor McGregor. When their UFC 229 fight was announced, “The Eagle” already emerged as the heavy favorite to win against “The Notorious”. There is still a month before the much-awaited fight happens, but Nurmagomedov’s camp is already making their plans after UFC 229.
In an interview with Russian MMA journalist Azamat Bostanov (h/t RT), Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Khabib’s father, revealed two UFC fighters they are targeting to be the UFC lightweight champion’s next opponent – Tony Ferguson and Georges-St-Pierre.
“For the hype, for the money, to bury Conor’s era it [the situation] is even better for us. But if we talk purely sports-wise – we still want the Ferguson fight. I really want him to come back and defeat [Anthony] Pettis. The intrigue is still there, and the whole world is interested (in the Ferguson fight),” Nurmagomedov said. “Georges St-Pierre, who has never been defeated as a champion at 170. He came back and took the belt from [Michael] Bisping at 185. It’s always been a dream fight for me. I’ve been following him for a long time. He is a Hall of Famer.”
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) September 5, 2018
When Conor McGregor was stripped of the lightweight belt, the UFC scheduled a fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 for the vacant title. Unfortunately, Ferguson pulled out from the fight due to injury. Now that he is 100 percent healthy, “El Cucuy” is set to return in the Octagon to face Anthony Pettis as a co-main event for the McGregor-Nurmagomedov UFC 229 bout. If he succeeds to defeat Pettis, UFC is expected to give Ferguson another chance to fight for the title.
Meanwhile, after almost a full year away from MMA, former UFC middleweight champion Georges St-Pierres has expressed interest in fighting again in the Octagon. St-Pierres publicly stated his desire to move down to the lightweight division and fight the winner of the UFC 229 fight between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov. St-Pierres believes fighting either McGregor or Nurmagomedov will be good for legacy and will give him a huge payday. However, UFC President Dana White said that they will not allow St-Pierres to fight for the lightweight title.
Most mixed martial arts fans will surely love to see Khabib Nurmagomedov fight Tony Ferguson or Georges St-Pierre. However, Nurmagomedov should focus on beating Conor McGregor before talking about his next title defense.